Press-Republican

Out & About

March 20, 2014

Not much need to see movie version of video game

Aaron Paul won acclaim and multiple Emmy Awards as one of the co-stars of the recently departed TV series “Breaking Bad.”

Now he wants to be a movie star (who can blame him?), but his first post-Bad leading role is … this?

An adaptation of the best-selling video game series, “Need for Speed” is a brainless and boring exercise in fast driving and car crashes that wants to be the next “Fast and Furious” but runs out of gas almost immediately.

Paul transforms from lovable meth dealer to bland street racer Tobey Marshall, a local street racing legend who has money troubles.

Enter his arch-rival, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), a former professional driver who enhances his pure evilness by stealing Tobey’s former girlfriend.

Dino has a rare vintage Mustang that — if properly rebuilt — is worth more than $2 million, and there’s no one else who can do the job but the man who despises him most.

Needless to say, there will be double-crossing, deadly crashes and a short jail term on the way. Eventually, Tobey will seek revenge in the only way a man knows how: defeating his enemy in an illegal, multimillion dollar street race.

Paul — maybe thinking he could be Ryan Gosling in “Drive”? — isn’t asked to do much in the way of acting and doesn’t give the script anything extra. He has an assortment of mechanic buddies who are meant to be comic relief but aren’t very funny, and a pretty British blonde (Amanda Poots) who is his awkward love interest and companion on a silly cross-country drive to the climactic race.

Michael Keaton adds an off-the-wall performance — sort of a grown-up riff on his “Night Shift” Billy Blaze character — as the reclusive rich guy who sponsors and narrates the outlaw race.

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